The story is told, and it would be good to imagine the pictures in our mind, that ‘a great multitude was coming toward Jesus’. (John 6:5). (How I pray that this would again be the case, today, that the hearts of men, in a ‘great multitude’ would come toward Jesus).
But before ‘a great multitude was coming toward Jesus’, the words are written, “After these things…”(John 6:1).
After ‘what’ things? we might ask. After – Jesus had changed water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana. After – Jesus had given the promise of eternal life to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, After – Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water, only later to tell her about her life’s decisions, and she speaking of the Messiah who will tell them ‘all things’ and Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”, (John 4:26), and then she went out and told her whole city about Him! After- Jesus healed a ‘nobleman’s son’ from a distance, a paralytic was healed and made well by the pool of Bethesda. And after speaking to the Jews who sought to kill Him because “He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:18). “After these things… ‘a great multitude was coming toward Jesus!”(John 6:1,5).
Word got out about Jesus! People were talking about all His wonderful works!
Back to the story: “And Jesus went up on a mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. (John 6:3). “He said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for all these people to eat?” John 6:5.
What would you say if you were Philip?
We would probably say just what he said: (my paraphrase), “a half a years pay wouldn’t be able to buy enough bread for this many!” But the brother that always had to be known as ‘Simon Peter’s brother, (Andrew) said, “Here is a boy with five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. But that is not enough for so many people.”John 6:8.
There is SO much in this story! The Bible is the most amazing living Book! But today, for me, I write what is magnified on the page. I write the words that totally knocked me over:
Jesus said, “Tell the people to sit down.” (John 6:10).
The Bible tells us that it was a very grassy place and that there were about 5,000 men who sat down there. But there were women and children there as well, so we are looking at close to 10,000 people perhaps.
Have you ever tried to tell even just fifty children to sit down? It is an effort. Now imagine telling 5,000 men plus more women and children – to sit down! I don’t think they had a megaphone, and we know that they did not have a microphone!
“Make the people sit down.” Jesus said.
These were His words,…for me. Are they for you too?
Today in this society we see the words, “Stay calm and …” Well, here in this story, Jesus doesn’t say, “Send them away to get their own lunches! He planned on having them sit and watch Him take the bread and give thanks to His Father and give them to His friends who then fed the crowd, and the same with the fish! (John 6:11).
Often times,obeying the Lord is hard. Often times, obeying the Lord doesn’t make any sense at all.But EVERY TIME it is good to ‘trust and obey’ the Lord!
“Make the people sit down.”(John 6:10)…. This makes me think of Psalm 23, “the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastures…” (Ps. 23:2).
God’s word against the reality – often times leaves us with a struggle – the struggle to trust and obey! Just to ‘be still’ and read His word and a hymn these days is hard…but Jesus spoke to me this morning, and I feel instructed to ‘make the people sit down’, including myself, after this is all typed and written – yes, we will ‘sit’ and be fed, by Him – by a hymn.
This hymn written so long ago, is for today, timeless, forever powerful:Trust and Obey, by John Sammis in 1887:
- When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
- Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
- Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
- But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
- Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.” And we’ve even got leftovers to share!